9 Foods That Will Keep You Satisfied for Longer
One of the toughest things about working to maintain or lose weight is the constant feeling of hunger. You try to eat less throughout the day, but find yourself starving by the time your next meal comes around. So then you end up snacking, or eating too much when you shouldn't. (See also: How to Trick Yourself Into Eating Less)
The key to avoiding this problem is to eat foods that help you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
Nutritionists and dieticians refer to something called "satiety." In essence, it's how full a food makes you feel, and how long it takes to digest. Foods with higher satiety factors will prevent you from feeling hungry too soon and will help you cut down on snacking, or overeating at your next meal.
The "Satiety Index" was created by researcher and nutrition author Susanna Holt, who rated food satiety on a scale with white bread receiving a baseline score of 100.
In general, foods that are high in protein tend to have a higher satiety. A little bit of fat also helps. Some of this is common sense. We all probably know from experience that an apple will last longer in your stomach than a donut will. (Guess which one will last longer around your waist.) But there are some foods with staying power that you may not have considered. Here's a good list of foods that will keep you feeling full. (See also: Tasty, Frugal Protein)
I love the versatility of the potato. Have some home fries or hash browns for breakfast and you'll last until noon, no problem. A baked potato for lunch will sustain you until dinner. According to Holt's study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a 240-calorie portion of a boiled potato is more than three times more satisfying than a similar portion of white bread, making it one of the highest-rated foods on the satiety index.
The health effects of fish are well known. Lots of vitamins and Omega-3s, while being low in saturated fat. But did you know fish will also help you feel fuller, longer? In one study performed by researchers in Sweden, people who ate fish for lunch ate 11% less at dinnertime than other test subjects who ate beef. (See also: How to Buy and Prepare Fresh Fish)
A big canister of quick oats can be your best friend in the morning. I eat oatmeal every day, and it usually sticks with me all the way to lunch. Add some raisins or even nuts for some extra staying power. Oatmeal has a satiety score of more than 200, meaning it's twice as satisfying as bread.
Doctors say you should limit your intake of red meat, but the occasional small steak or burger won't kill you. Beef takes some work for the stomach to digest, so you'll feel nice and full for a while after a meal.
Eggs, Particularly If They Are Boiled
Packed with protein, eggs can be a great start to your day. You can leave out the yolk and still have about 4 grams of protein in one large egg. I find that if you hard-boil or soft-boil the egg, it will take longer to digest and you won't feel hungry for a while. (See also: Perfectly Cooked Eggs)
Satiety: About 150%, depending on the bean
Legumes like black beans, lima beans, and kidney beans are filled with protein and fiber, so they'll take a while to digest. A great three-bean salad can be a very satisfying lunch. Beans are inexpensive and filled with other nutrients, too. What more can you ask for?
Satiety: 132% (brown rice), 154% (whole grain bread), 188% (brown pasta)
If you want to eat bread, go for whole wheat or whole grain bread. Brown rice will assuage your appetite better than white rice. And brown pasta will last longer than white pasta.
It's high in fat, so you don't want to eat too much. But higher fat, combined with its high protein, means it will take longer to work its way through your digestive system. (See also: 5 Easy Homemade Cheeses)
Fruit, Especially Apples and Oranges
Satiety: 115-200%, depending on the fruit
Fruit is usually packed with protein and fiber that takes a while to digest. But not all fruits digest at the same rate. According to the satiety index, apples and oranges are your best bet. Bananas are hugely healthy, but won't stick with you as long.
What foods fill you up? Please share in comments!